Cancun-based NGO Amigos de Sian Ka’an, A.C. recently turned 30, three decades of tireless work and campaigning for the protection of the Mexican Caribbean’s precious ecosystems. A conservation pioneer, Amigos was founded in 1986 to watch over Sian Ka’an, the state’s new biosphere reserve. It has since been involved in the creation of several other reserves in the state, including Uaymil, Contoy, Arrecifes de Sian Ka’an, Arrecifes de Xcalak, Balan Ka’ax and Cozumel, among others.

The Amigos conservation team comprises biologists, oceanographers, anthropologists, development workers and volunteers and its projects range from wildlife research to an environmental services payment program for protecting the jungle, water studies and sustainable development. Whether it’s monitoring the health of the Mesoamerican Reef and marine life to safeguarding the jungle and the creatures that dwell in it, mapping the network of underground river systems in the Riviera Maya and community products and tourism in Mayan villages, Amigos de Sian Ka’an is involved in protecting the unique, fragile and incredibly rich mosaic of ecosystems with which the state of Quintana Roo is blessed.

A longtime supporter of Amigos de Sian Ka’an, the Royal Resorts Foundation joined forces with it in a conservation initiative to preserve areas of tropical forest in areas of northern Quintana Roo under threat from development. By saving the forest, wildlife and the aquifers that supply water to Cancun, Isla Mujeres and the Riviera Maya are also protected.